Jhpiego Malawi, an NGO working in the promotion of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) has urged men in the country to opt for medical circumcision saying aside from reducing the spread of HIV has a lot of benefits both to the man, woman and the nation as a whole.
Jhpeigo VMMC Specialist Whyson Mkandawire was speaking in Zomba on Wednesday at the end of a three day media tour of the progress made in the VMMC campaign conducted in three districts of Thyolo, Chikwawa and Zomba under the Smart choice (Sankhani moyenera) project.
Mkandawire expressed dissatisfaction with a number of men patronising VMMC centers in the districts which he attributed to cultural norms and traditions as well as fear of going through surgery.
However, he articulated that the benefits of medical circumcision are enormous as it has proven to have reduced the spread of HIV by 60 percent, decreases the risk of urinary tract infections; reduces risk of sexually transmitted diseases in men; protects against cancer of the penis and prevents inflammation of the glands and foreskin.
Aside from that Mkandawire said medical male circumcision also benefits women through improving hygiene, reducing STI’s, and reducing the risk of cervical cancer (Human Papilloma Virus – HPV).
Explains Mkandawire: “The benefits are enormous, when clients go to hospitals for circumcision, they go through counselling, screening and treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), HIV testing just to mention but a few.”
This he said has helped to increase the number of men seeking public health services including uptake of ARVs by men.
Andrew Chamdula clinical officer and district VMMC coordinator for Thyolo bemoaned low turnout of men of sexually active ages of 15 to 45 in all the eight sites they are carrying out the campaign.
He said on average, they are circumcising less than ten men a day. The seven weeks campaign which started on July 23 ends on September 6. Thyolo targets to circumcise 1080 males within the period.
Lucious Muliko from Maulidi village in Traditional Authority Chikowi in Zomba said he become an advocate of VMMC after he was treated following complications he developed after undergoing traditional circumcision for four times.
“I was having complications which the traditional circumcisers failed to fix. I become fine after undergoing medical circumcision,” he said.
Livinesi Batoni, a 27 year-old woman from Zomba said these days women prefer circumcised men to uncircumcised ones because they are assured of safety when it comes to protection from cancer of the cervix.
Jhpiego began working in Malawi in 1999, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and subsequently also by the U.K. Department for International Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Since it started projects aimed at promoting VMMC in 2013, Jhpiego has circumcised over 100 000 males aged between 10 to 45 contributing to almost 41 percent of the county’s circumcised population as of December 2016. Malawi targets to circumcise about 1.3 million sexually active men by 2020.